Friday, February 26, 2010

NGK Insulators Reveals Garnet-Type Ceramic Materials for All-Solid-State-Lithium Batteries, Joins Consortium for Sodium Sulfur Battery Advancement

 NGK Insulators, Ltd. (Nagoya-City, JP) has developed a garnet-type ceramic material, Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZ) that has excellent lithium resistance and can be utilized as a solid electrolyte in an all-solid-state lithium secondary battery according to U.S. Patent Application 20100047696

According to inventors Toshihiro Yoshida,  Akihiko Honda and Yosuke Sato, an all-solid-state lithium secondary battery includes: a cathode; an anode; and a solid electrolyte that is a sintered ceramic compact containing aluminum (Al) and with a garnet-type crystal structure or a garnet-like crystal structure containing lithium (Li), lanthanum (La), zirconium (Zr) and oxygen (O). The preferred material is Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZ) garnet-type ceramic material

To obtain a cathode and anode, a cathode material or anode material comprising the LLZ active substance as well as a suitable electron conduction aid and binder can be prepared beforehand. Examples of the electron conduction aid include acetylene black, carbon black, graphite, various carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, and the like. Examples of the binder include polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), SBR, polyimide, polytetrafluoroethylene, and the like. For the cathode one type of these active substances can be used, or two or more types thereof can be used in combination. 

Along with the development of personal computers, cell phones, and other portable devices in recent years, the demand for secondary batteries as a power source has increased dramatically. Electrolytes comprising an organic solvent or other liquid state (liquid electrolytes) have been widely used as a medium for ion transfer in secondary batteries utilized in such applications. However, problems such as leakage of the liquid electrolyte, fire, and explosion can occur in batteries using such a liquid electrolyte.

From the standpoint of ensuring the intrinsic safety of the secondary battery, the use of a solid electrolyte in place of the liquid electrolyte has progressed, as well as the development of an all-solid-state secondary battery in which all other battery components are also solid. Because the electrolyte is a sintered ceramic, this kind of all-solid-state secondary battery is advantageous since there is no fear of fire or leakage, and problems such as deterioration of battery performance due to corrosion are unlikely to occur. Among these, an all-solid-state lithium secondary battery utilizing lithium metal in the electrodes is believed to be a secondary battery that can easily provide a high energy density.

Sodium Sulfur Batteries Gaining Ground

In other battery news, on February 9th a consortium that includes EDF Energy and NGK Insulators, Ltd with MEIDEN and JWD signed an initial agreement to develop large scale sodium sulfur NAS battery assets to provide ancillary services in the UK.

Large-scale NAS battery systems have been used in several locations across the world to store energy and provide various applications such as load leveling, stabilizing renewable energy and the grid system and will be able to do so for many years to come.

The consortium is working on the development of a demonstration project before seeking to apply the technology more widely.

Martin Lawrence, Managing Director, Energy Sourcing and Customer Supply at EDF Energy, said: "EDF Energy is delighted to be working with NGK, bringing their skills and experience to the UK’s energy market. This agreement is a significant and exciting step in the development and potential use of this technology.

As the UK’s largest generator of low-carbon electricity, EDF Energy has a major role to play in the UK power market. This innovative solution will provide energy and a secure supply as well as help to maintain a robust grid during periods of high demand."

NGK said, "We are honored to be working with EDF Energy to deploy the NAS battery in this innovative project. We look forward to this first installation of the NAS battery in UK. By linking our battery knowledge with EDF Energy's understanding of the British power market, we intend to demonstrate the value of reserve services supplied by a battery, instead of using conventional generating plant."

UK Ancillary Market
Ancillary Services are specialist technical services provided by companies with plant connected to the national grid which facilitate a smooth operation of the energy network. In the UK, power generation, transmission and distribution companies are separate. The energy is traded between market players on the basis of bilateral contracts. In order to ensure a balanced system the gird operator purchases

Ancillary Services provided by both power producers and customers. As European Union places restrictions on the amount of power that can be produced by fossil fuel generation plants in order to reduce CO2 emissions; renewable capacity has been increasing, placing additional balancing needs on the grid. To meet these needs NGK, together with EDF Energy are considering the development of utility scale NAS battery systems which have advantages in terms of quick response import (charge) and export (discharge) modes thus providing power to the grid.

Installed Battery Systems
Sodium Sulfur NAS Batteries allow the development of large scale modules with capacities ranging from 10MW to 100MW. The technology is in service across the world with an installed capacity of just over 300MW. The NAS Battery systems are found to have a proven reliability and safety record.

About EDF Energy
EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies. EDF Energy is the UK’s largest producer of electricity and the largest generator of low carbon electricity in Britain. Through Climate and Social Commitments, EDF Energy have launched the biggest environmental and social packages of any UK energy company. EDF Energy produce around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from our nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. EDF Energy provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population via our electricity distribution networks and supply gas and electricity to over 5.5 million business and residential customers.

EDF Energy is a key player in national infrastructure projects including the management of private electricity networks serving four London airports and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. EDF Energy has recently published plans to build up to four new nuclear power stations in the UK. EDF Energy integrated with British Energy in 2009 and we now           employ nearly 20,000 people at locations across the UK. EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. EDF is the official energy utilities partner and sustainability partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

About NGK
NGK is the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical insulators including 1100 kV ultra high voltage suspension & bushing insulators with a 90 year history. NGK is also one of the largest manufacturers of ceramic HONEYCERAM & DPF (Diesel Particulate Filters) for catalyst converters for automobiles. The NAS battery is produced only by NGK, where 20 years was spent in development before it was released for commercial applications. NGK has outstanding agreements to supply 150MW NAS battery system to EDF Energy Nouvelles France and 300 MW to Abu Dhabi over the next 5 years.

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